Construction Enquirer News Nearly 70 jobs to be cut from 840-strong workforce

North of England’s Esh Group has joined the swelling ranks of contractors unveiling plans to cut around 8% of workforce jobs in the coming months.

The firm blamed Covid-19 and increased Brexit uncertainty for the decision to axe around 67 jobs among its 840-strong workforce.

Chief executive Andy Radcliffe said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly but is a necessary one that ensures our long-term stability as we navigate an uncertain economic future.

“We will, of course, aim to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to a minimum.”

“It is very difficult to predict the long-term impact of this pandemic, with no historical precedent to work from, ambiguity surrounding Brexit, and the risk of further spikes in infections becoming a real prospect, impacting upon our ability to understand how our longer-term trade will perform.”

The multi-discipline contractor furloughed over 500 staff — two-thirds of its total workforce — when the coronavirus crisis hit in March, with all remaining staff taking temporary pay cuts.

Since then, a large number of those furloughed have returned to work as sites have gradually reopened.

The potential redundancies are anticipated to occur in administrative and support service areas, as well as a number of roles that are directly inhibited by Covid-19 restrictions.

Esh will commence a minimum 30-day consultation period with Employee Representatives from 13th July onwards.

Radcliffe added: “The medium to long term carries a high degree of risk of some opportunities not coming to fruition, and if they do, we anticipate a very competitive landscape in winning our fair share. The difficult decisions we have taken are necessary to protect our business, match the size of our cost base to projected work volumes, and deliver our revised growth strategy as the markets recover.”

Esh Group started 2020 with a forward order book exceeding £250m, fuelled by an increase in the size and quality of contracts secured.

Radcliffe added: “The adjustments being made will ensure the long-term future of the business is protected. We will keep our offices in Durham, Sunderland, and Leeds open and remain committed to supporting our local supply and labour chains, evidenced by our prompt payments throughout this crisis.

“We are excited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans for our sector and hope that this will aid a quick recovery, enabling us to consider recruitment of colleagues, and importantly, apprentices in the future.”

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